Fin-tech firms urged to serve countryside via rural banks, coops

Banking and credit authorities said financial technology (fin-tech) firms should start serving businesses in the countryside to enable those with no access to banks to have better financial services like those served by big banks.

Photo credit: www.rbapmabs.org

Aboitiz-owned UnionBank said fin-tech startups should become more aggressive in offering their services in the provinces.

The bank said those that should be served are the rural banks (RBs) and cooperatives that severely lack access to fast and modern financial services because more than 90 percent of rural banks are not linked to Bancnet and Megalink. They are also not connected to Swift, the global international exchange of payment platform for between banks.

“RBs are vital piece of infrastructure that need assistance,” Justo Ortiz, chairman of UnionBank, told journalists recently.

At the recent general assembly of the 1Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines (1CISP), PLDT-owned FinTQ said it has already begun assisting cooperatives in the country to bridge the gap between their “traditional members” and prospective “younger clients” they cater through the use of different digital platforms.

FinTQ said it wants to help cooperatives with old or no IT infrastructure at all to connect with millennials who are the disruptors of businesses because they demand fast services that answer their needs.

The company pointed out, however, that rural banks and cooperatives should embrace the digital disruption and reinvent themselves. “The current and next generation customers will continue to disrupt industries. Fusing technology with the strategy is the way forward,” FinTQ said in a statement.

It added that when RBs and cooperatives undergo digital transformation, this translates to “happy and engaged customers and an empowered and pro-active workforce.” “The financial inclusion journey is a gradual program making Filipinos move from being unbanked to semi-banked to banked,” it added. — Ayed Sison

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